Where to celebrate Canada Day
Our Canada Experts recommend the best festivities to dress up in red and white and enjoy some unforgettable Canada Day celebrations.
Canadians take great pride in their unique history, culture and incredible natural beauty, and this is never more evident than on Canada Day – the nation’s birthday. The 1st July 1867 marked the uniting of the three colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada to create one country.
Officially named Dominion Day until 1982, Canada Day – or Fête du Canada – is the most important date in the country’s calendar and is celebrated in villages, towns and cities with fireworks displays, parties and parades. And as the nation builds up its 152nd birthday in 2019, the celebrations are set to be become bigger and better than ever…
It should come as no surprise that the capital Ottawa is a fantastic place to celebrate the nation’s birthday; and if you want to fully immerse yourself in all things red, white and Canadian we could think of no better city to be in. The day gets off to a patriotic start with a flag-raising ceremony and Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill. Highlights include a fly-past by the Canadian Forces’ military aerobatics team, the Snowbirds; family-friendly activities, shows and attractions at the Canadian Museum of History; and of course the spectacular fireworks display from Parliament Hill.
We love the idea of spending Canada Day at Downtown Vancouver’s patriotically-named Canada Place (and the views over Vancouver Harbour and the North Shore Mountains aren’t too bad either). The waterside party starts at 10am and continues all day with activities on offer for all ages. Later the festivities move over to Georgia Street for the Canada Day Parade during which you’ll really notice how the city – and the country as a whole – values and celebrates multiculturalism. And then, of course it’s time for the fireworks – the best viewing points can be bagged at Canada Place, Harbour Green Park and Stanley Park, where you can also experience the daily 9 o’clock gun.
July is the most popular time of year to visit the city of Calgary, with the world-famous rodeo and festival – the Calgary Stampede – held annually over 10 day period at the beginning of the month. First on the monthly agenda however is Canada Day, and with the city getting into party mode, it’s a great place to be. Unique celebrations here include the Aboriginal Showcase and Powwow at Prince’s Island Park and a Calgary Canada Day tradition – the Living Flag, created by hundreds of people dressed in either white or red. And while you are here for Canada, why not stick around for ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’?
There’s plenty on throughout the world’s most multicultural city throughout the day down by the Harbourfront, in Queen’s Park in Downtown Toronto and at Yonge-Dundas Square. The official City of Toronto events take place in the evening with live music and entertainment in Mel Lastman Square followed by firework displays at various locations around the city.
As one of Canada’s oldest cities with a proud maritime history, it’s inevitable that Halifax’s Canada Day celebrations have a heritage focus. Alongside the more common fireworks display, there’s the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and Tattoo Parade and historical military re-enactments and a twenty-one gun salute at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.